Camp Cody

The Enterprise Magazine by Rick Phillips - June 24, 1982

It's hard to believe that only old foundations and bricks are about all that's left of a location which once supported over 30,000 -- Camp Cody.The camp, which was established three miles northwest of Deming in the summer of 1917, probably came into being because of World War 1 and the 1916 Poncho Villa raid on Columbus. Those two events are now memories, as is Camp Cody. In its heyday Camp Cody was a city of it's own and self-supportive. Not only did the camp have its own hospital and fire department, but it also boasted a theatre, post office and library for the National Guard troops who were training there.

Add this to the 10,000 or so people who lived in Deming and the area became quite a bustling place for men of the 34th Infantry Division from Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and other states. While Deming was the closest town to Camp Cody, soldiers also made the trip to old Tyrone, which was also in its prime, for entertainment. Training wasn't restricted to the Deming area either, as troops would go out on maneuvers near Cooke's Peak and the Burro Mountains, where World War I items can still be found lying around. Camp Cody only trained troops for about five years but while it was there it made a big splash on the area. The El Paso Morning Times would devote a full page each issue to Camp Cody, including a comic strip of the camp.

In addition, troops organized baseball and boxing teams and held inter-camp football games. At least two musical pieces were even written by soldiers at the camp, "Camp Cody Blues Fox Trot," by Harry Baisden and "Dem Deming Blues," also entitled "The Sandstorm Division is Coming." Although El Paso and Deming papers were widely distributed in the area at the time, Camp Cody also had its own publication, a weekly newspaper called "The Reveille." It was the social organ of the infantry and subscription was just 10 cents per month. Camp Cody was indeed a lively place during World War I but after the camp was closed down in 1922. The soldiers left the location and were replaced by medical people and nuns, as the camp became the Holy Cross Sanatorium.

It was originally decided that the camp would become a hospital for tuberculosis patients but later it became a vocational training center for those who had TB. The Roman Catholic Church later purchased the land and made it into a hospital. About $250,000 in renovations were then made by famous architect Henry Trost of El Paso and in May of 1923 the sanatorium was formally opened. By 1938, though, the sanitarium had to close as patients became fewer and TB was on the decline. A year later, Holy Cross almost completely burned down, for reasons still unknown.

� Text is the copyright of The Enterprise Magazine & Rick Phillips.

Training Camp at Deming Named in His Honor

List of Entertainment Available for the Camp Cody Soldiers

The Princess Theater was built east of the Lester Deckert building on East Pine.

The Isis Theater was next to the Princess.

The Cody Theater was at 100 North Gold at thecorner of Pine and Gold with concessions in connection. Both movies and vaudeville shows here. It was a beautiful building, the acoustics were good, the aisles carpeted and seated about 500 people. Admission fee here was higher than the other movies. The Cody Theater burned to the ground in 1918.

The Majestic Theater was in the 100 block of North Gold on the East Side of the street.

The Rialto Theater, 105 North Silver Street.

The Teal Theater -- 402 East Pine Street (Pine and Diamond), a vaudeville, U-Eat-Um Pie Shop (Pies baked in Deming) and other concessions lined the south side of East Pine from the Salvation Army Building at 300 East Pine, beyond the Teal Theater.

The Pastime Theater -- 200 East Pine, Western Movies (William S. Hart, William Duncan, and Harold Holiday and the weekly serial western).

The Comet Theater -- 115 South Silver, later a skating rink.

Air Dome Theater -- open air theater north of the Baker Hotel on South Silver.

The Crystal Theater was a vaudeville theater and the Opera House for graduation exercises & community plays.

The Y.M.C.A. and Hostess House were located in the 500 block of West Pine on the North side of the street.

The Salvation Army built a two-story building at 300 East Pine.

Pool Halls, Tobacco Shops, Candy stores, soft drink places thrived. Every cubbyhole, nook and cranny was filled. All the saloons were closed because one could not be within five miles of a United States Army Camp.

Dances were held at the New Mexico State Armory. The ladies report having many good times there with their soldier boy friends.

The Harvey House was the center of much entertainment being one of the finest between St. Louis and San Francisco.

� Text is the copyright of "History of Luna County, New Mexico".

Trails of the 127th Field Artillery - Camp Cody

Tis a wonderful time our regiment has seen
Since the day we joined the fighting machine.
Each day has been a long and monotonous one,
But now it is over and our work is done.

Our work began in New Mexico,
Where the toads and lizzards and cactus grow;
Where the sandstorms raved and the coyotes yelled,
And fourteen long months is this place we dwelled.

We've done squads left, and we've done squads right,
Yes, we drilled or hiked from morn 'till night.
We'd get out in the morning with rifles in hand,
And hike and drill in the dust and sand.

Then at last our work sort of changed a bit,
They gave us big guns and horses with fits.
And we worked with the guns and the horses until
They sent us to the range to test our skill.

This sort 'o work we didn't mind much,
For we thought we'd soon get a shot at the "Dutch".
So we kept on eating the dust and the sand,
Until we were ready for the foreign land.

Then soon we began thinking we'd had enough,
But they sent us to "Sill" for the same old stuff.
And when we came here we were rather surprised,
As the sand from Camp Cody had already arrived.

Now, about Fort Sill I shall make no remark
For we had passes to Lawton and to Medicine Park.
But in a few months we completed our school,
And got orders to prepare for our trip over the pool.

And when it drew near to departing time,
About every five minutes we were called to the line.
To police up the kitchen, and police up the street.
And stand at attention 'till it blistered our feet.

On a black dusty morn' we left the southern Fort,
And entrained for a distant embarcation port.
And there we remained for about six days in all
Awaiting impatiently our transportation call.

At last came the order to strip on our packs,
Which weighted us down and near broke our backs.
After a tiresome journey, we arrived in New York
And boarded a ship called the "City of York".

Well, a wonderful ship was the "City of York,"
Their meals were delicious, stewed mutton and pork.
The ocean was stormy and the waves washed high,
And I don't see today how we ever got by.

For fourteen days in this manner we rode
And finally reached Liverpool and began to unload.
Well, you've heard many stories of the ocean blue,
But the story of our trip doesn't hardly seem true.

Well "Somewhere in France" we finally came,
This 127th, with all its fame.
Well it wasn't very long till the "Kaiser" quit,
He'd heard we were there with the stuff and the Grit.

Copied 8/24/1993 from a badly tattered copy by Dolly Shannon

� Text is the copyright of Dolly Shannon.

34th Division - Camp Cody - Deming, New Mexico

In compliance with War Department instructions, the 34th Division (National Guard) was organized at Camp Cody, New Mexico, on October 2, 1917, under General Orders, No. 18, Headquarters, 34th Division. The division was made up of National Guard troops from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Headquarters 1st Minnesota Brigade ; 1st,2nd,and 3rd Minnesota Infantry; Minnesota Field Hospital and Ambulance companies No. 1; Headquarters 1st Iowa Brigade; 1st and 2nd Iowa Infantry; 1st Squadron Iowa Cavalry; 1st Iowa Field Artillery; 1st Battalion Iowa Engineers; Company C, Iowa Signal Corps; Iowa Ammunition Train; Iowa Field hospitals and Ambulance companies Nos. 1 and 2; 4th, 5th, and 6th Nebraska Infantry; Company B, Nebraska Signal Corps; 1st Regiment North Dakota Infantry, and North Dakota Field Hospital Company No. 1; 1st Regiment South Dakota Cavalry.

The 34th Division remained in training at Camp Cody, New Mexico, until September, 1918. The first units sailed for overseas on September 16, 1918, via England, and the last units arrived in France on October 24, 1918. Upon arrival in France the division was ordered to the Le Mans area where it was broken up and ceased to function as a division. In the early part of December the division began its return to the United States by individual units.

The commanding generals of this division were:

Maj. Gen. A. P. Blocksom, September 18, 1917, to May 7, 1918;
Maj. Gen. William R. Smith, September 28, 1918, to October 10, 1918;
Maj. Gen. Beaumont B. Buck, October 17, 1918, to November 7, 1918;
Brig. Gen. John A. Johnson, November 7, 1918, to November 11, 1918.

This 34th Division was composed of the following organizations:

67th, 68th Infantry brigades.
69th Field Artillery Brigade.
133rd, 134th, 135th, and 136th Infantry regiments.
125th, 126th, 127th Field Artillery regiments.
109th Trench Mortar Battery.
109th Field Signal Battalion.
109th Headquarters Train and Military Police.
109th Ammunition Train.
109th Supply Train.
109th Sanitary Train (133rd, 134th, 135th, and 136th Ambulance companies and Field hospitals).
109th Field Train.
109th Engineer Regiment and Train.

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